US immigration officials on Monday announced moves to ease and speed up visa-processing for HIV-positive visitors to the United States, months after a 21-year entry ban on people with the virus was lifted.
Under the new rules, US consular offices overseas will have the authority to grant temporary, non-immigrant visas to HIV-positive applicants who meet "all of the other normal criteria for the granting of a US visa," the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in a statement.
Previously, people with HIV were banned from entering the United States unless they obtained a special waiver.
Visas issued under the new rules will "be subject to certain criteria designed to ensure an HIV-positive person's activities while in the United States do not present a risk to the public health," the statement said, without going into detail.
President George W. Bush signed legislation in July which removed HIV from a list of diseases "of public health significance" that effectively barred any person infected with the virus that causes AIDS from entering the United States.
The ban on HIV-positive foreigners entering the United States had been in place since 1987.